Russia marked one of its biggest national holidays on May 9, Victory Day, commemorating the Soviet triumph over Nazi Germany in 1945.
Only senior officials and veterans were invited to celebrate with President Vladimir Putin on Moscow’s Red Square, where he extolled the “day of our national triumph and our people’s pride.”
Anyone else who wanted a glimpse of the parade in central Moscow had to brave a maze of police barricades and sealed metro exits.
On Pushkin Square, about a kilometer up Tverskaya Street from Red Square, people clambered atop anything they could find – including porta-potties, dump trucks, and the precarious-looking scaffolding on a construction site – to see tanks and rocket launchers waiting for the order to approach. After the tanks rumbled away, military helicopters and jets soared overhead to rousing applause.
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David Trilling is EurasiaNet's Central Asia editor.